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Statement of Bishop Felton E. May on the ICE Arrests

of Immigrants in West Virginia and Iowa

I am deeply concerned about the humanitarian implications of the recent arrests by federal authorities of migrant workers at their places of work in both Iowa and West Virginia. Church sources say that not only did the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency seize workers at a chicken processing plant near Romney, West Virginia, but also went into schools and took away children. In Pottsville, Iowa, more than 300 people were arrested at a meat processing plant, with the women scattered into area jails and the men herded into a single hall at a place called the Cattle Congress!

Where are the children removed from the school in West Virginia? What about the children of those men and women taken in Iowa? Are the arrested men and women receiving due process?

It is somewhat ironic that these raids took place in the days immediately following the 2008 United Methodist Church’s policy-making General Conference, which adopted resolutions opposing all actions against immigrants that divide families and denigrate human beings. One of those resolutions states:

Raids of workplaces, homes and other social places have often violated the civil liberties of migrants. Migrants should be given due process and access to adequate legal representation. Due to these raids and the ensuing indefinite detentions and deportations that follow them, families have been ripped apart, and the immigrant community has been forced to live in a constant state of fear.

I applaud Lutheran bishops who visited the West Virginia detention center where the immigrants seized in that state are being held. I pray for widespread ecumenical response of a similar nature.

I pray also that United Methodists will rally to the needs of those in detention and, especially, to the needs of children affected by the arrest and deportation of their parents. As a denomination, we want to make good on the claims of our resolutions to seek justice for migrants and to welcome strangers.

Bishop Felton E. May
Interim General Secretary
General Board of Global Ministries
The United Methodist Church

See Also...
Topic: Advocacy Christian love Communities Human rights Immigration United Methodist Church
Geographic Region: North Eastern U.S.United States
Source: GBGM Administration

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Date posted: May 19, 2008